Book signings can be an effective way to physically get out there and meet your fans face-to-face. When arranging book signings, it’s vital that you contact the right places, promote to the greatest extent you can, and bring the necessary materials the day of the event.
First, start looking into bookstores or other locales you think would be open to hosting you and your book. When you’re looking into possible dates, research area events to make sure your book signings don’t clash with a festival or other local events. When you’ve found a promising venue, contact them and get the name of the employee who deals with book signings. If you’re looking to sign at a nonconventional event, where book signings aren’t common, going to the manager or the event coordinator will usually be your best bet. Contact them via telephone or email, and don’t be afraid to touch base to make sure the store has ordered your book, put you in their calendar and promoted the signing.
Distribute a press release to local media outlets, such as radio stations, television networks, and newspapers, announcing your book and the signing. You can also hand out flyers to local businesses (coffee shops are ideal) to spread the word. The bookstore (or other venue) may send out an announcement of your book signing in their newsletter—if they do, ask to add some of your own contacts to the distribution list. If you are active on social media, make sure you spread the word about your event. Be sure to include the date, time and location so that possible attendees can mark their calendars.
Not all bookstores, especially if they are smaller in size and scope, will be willing to stock or buy books when they agree to host book signings. Many will buy them on consignment, which means they will pay for the books after they sell. You get shelf space, and they get a good deal—it’s a compromise that you have to be willing to make. However, make sure you get the terms of the agreement in writing, just to be safe.
On the day of your book signing, make sure you have plenty of books on hand. Depending on your venue (especially if it isn’t a bookstore), you may need to bring your own books; make sure you know either way before you arrive. Bring plenty of pens with which to sign (people may inadvertently run off with them), and have an ample supply of promotional materials like brochures, photos or bookmarks to hand out (and make sure these materials give information on how to purchase your book).
Before your actual book signing starts, circulate through the locale, inviting people to your event and promoting your book (and yourself). During your book signing, be happy and positive—and put yourself out there! After book signings, make sure to follow up with thank you notes to the bookstore and the manager for letting you host. A little goodwill can go a long way.